A dilapidated Scrabble Power House

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What does the 2003 UK Scrabble Champion and the 2005 Australian Scrabble Champion have in common?  They are both of Sri Lankan origin (Harshan and Naveen).  For good measure Naveen Fernando won the Australian title again in 2010.  Before that he had won the Gulf Championship. Ancient history you say? Then consider that Sri Lanka was the only country to have three players in the top 10 at the 2015 World Youth Scrabble Championship. One of them won the Under 13 title and Sri Lanka also won the team title. 

When the incomparable Bobby Fischer emerged as the World Chess Champion, it was likened to grass growing through the cracks on a busy sidewalk. Then Sri Lankan Scrabblers shining on the world stage is the equivalent of a tree sprouting on the middle or a busy elevated highway. Missaka Warusawithana played at the World Championship as a 15 year old. Mind you this is the senior event, not World Youth Championship. Missaka was 15th that year. A few years later Naveen bettered it moved it from 15 to 13, 11, 8 and 3 (though he wasn't representing Sri Lanka at the time). There it has languished for a long time.

Sri Lanka Scrabble team for WYSC 2016

Photo by Manjula de Silva

You would think that a tiny Indian ocean country where English is spoken as the first language by less than 50,000 persons might not be able to achieve these sort of performances but they have. Sri Lankans have done even better at WYSC consistently having one or two players in the top 10 and having three in 2015. So why hasn't Sri Lanka had a top 10 finisher in the WSC since 2005? When you read the next few posts you will find out!

If Sri Lankan eventually wins the World Scrabble Championship, it would be inspite of the Sri Lanka Scrabble League rather than because of it

foot note: This article isn't exactly tech geek but it's a prelude to a series of posts that will be geek (even though not exactly tech geek)

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